Travellers Tales are really knocking out these LEGO games, especially after the massive LEGO Dimensions in the last quarter of 2015 (and the continual drip feed of additional content for it). You’d almost think they’d take a break and reflect on what’s worked well and what needs tweaking with the next release… but nope, here’s LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (not to be confused with LEGO Marvel Superheroes from a couple of years back). Aiming to convert the MCU phase 2 sequence of films into brick form, we’re globetrotting this time with the best of the best as they battle villains and egos to save the world. Several times. Is this one for hardcore LEGO and Marvel fans only though?
There’s a standard structure to the game we’re familiar with now for the LEGO games: run through a hub to find the start of the mission, play mission in (typically) three stages, have a boss fight, move to the next hub. Nothing out the ordinary to faze fans or alienate new players. So if you’ve watched the trailers you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is simply a rehash of the last LEGO Marvel release, it does after all reuse some of the free roam environments with no shame whatsoever – be prepared to run around Manhattan and the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier with wild abandon again. However, the promise here is not just New York, it’s that there are 8 different open hubs to explore and create havoc in, even if they aren’t quite on the scale of the Big Apple. Likewise, there’s nothing new with the way the characters are controlled, and veterans will be right at home in seconds blasting shiny objects with Iron Man or bypassing security cameras with Black Widow. Pretty much the only new aspect to get to grips with is the team ups which are power moves that two characters perform together when you press the a button at the right point (nothing complicated for kids, obviously).
As you’d expect, there’s a faithful toy recreation of Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, as well as levels based on The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier, The Dark World and Iron Man 3 – plus content coming for Ant-man. Each scripted level is well thought out, highly polished and fun to play, with a huge amount of collectibles encouraging exploration and replay with new characters once the story mission is complete. It’s the same with the hub worlds, and then some, because the maps can be a mass of green, pink, blue and yellow dots that all indicate a quest, activity or pick up to complete. Without doubt, Travellers Tales cannot be accused of skimping on content, and this is before the now almost mandatory season pass even gets a look in. If you’re looking for something that constantly encourages and rewards without being too taxing, you’re definitely in the right place.
I thought there was a seriously big roster of characters in LEGO Jurassic World, it has nothing on this. Over 100 are available to unlock and a plethora of DLC ones too. There are the well known like Iron Man, including the ability to change suit mid-level, and variations of Captain America; the “kinda heard of” like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage; and the “who?” category – really, who is Justin Hammer? Stan Lee continues to make an appearance as comic book versions of himself as well as being in peril in the environments, and there are 250 gold bricks scattered around too. In a slight change, red bricks that enable cheats are held by The Collector and you have to find him and finish his quests to unlock them. Quite a nice addition to the minikits and stud collection within the levels. The are also a few flying and shooting sections that put me in mind of Resogun as you circle environment objects blasting everything that moves… a nice variation on the third person bashing that happens most of the time.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers does absolutely nothing wrong, it’s safe and built to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, and that’s where its problem lies. If you’re a regular LEGO game player then looking past the Marvel sheen there’s nothing much new here. In fact, as the series have progressed from aping cutscenes with no dialogue to using the actual audio from films, or even getting the actors to record new dialogue like Clark Gregg does here, it’s lost a lot of the charm. Sure, I get a kick out of seeing Nick Fury with a milkshake in a cutscene designed to make you think of Pulp Fiction, but a lot of the slapstick with knowing nods and glances have been taken out. It’s definitely not trying to be serious, it just feels like the lampooning we saw in the original LEGO Star Wars games has been left behind as the size and scale of the games have increased.
I can’t score it badly though, you’ll enjoy the 8 – 10 hours spent playing the story, and then the rest of the time if you’re a completionist and have to collect everything else. Free content is always a draw, especially on the PS4 version, and with the promise of some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. levels arriving later, this is a game that could keep going for longer than normal. If you’re buying for a youngster (or oldster) who’s Avengers mad, this is perfect blockbuster fodder. If you’ve had your fill of plastic bricks recently then this isn’t necessarily one for your collection.
A PS4 review copy of LEGO Marvel’s Avengers was provided by the Warner Bros PR team, and the game is available now on PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U and 3DS.